Christine Quinn Is Just Like You

5.30.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

NYC mayoral candidate's memoir reveals an anxiety common among LGBT people.

The political memoir remains alive and well in an increasingly digitized publishing world, and it's become that a lawmaker can't run for prominent office without releasing a first person account of their lives so far. Christine Quinn's no exception, and she's definitely one of the more interesting politicians to spill the beans in a book. Currently the Speaker of New York City's City Council, Quinn's the frontrunner to take the mayoral reins once Michael Bloomberg's third term comes to a close. If she wins she will be the first female and first openly gay mayor of the Big Apple. That's no small potatoes.

The book, called With Patience and Fortitude and set to be released next month but obtained by the New York Times, will be the most intimate glimpse into the often gruff Democrat's life, though rest assured it's well curated. Little is said about her first relationship, for example, and the Times points out that she glosses over unsavory political topics like a slush fund scandal that embroiled her City Hall and her support for Bloomberg's term extensions.

But readers interested in the inner workings of this formidable politician are offered insight into her motivations and devotions. Quinn writes that the experience of dealing with her mother's fight with breast cancer and subsequent death, in 1988, when Quinn was 16, helped prepare her for her career. "I really doubt I would have become the first woman — or the first L.G.B.T. person — to be elected speaker if I hadn’t been driven by a leftover sense of guilt and responsibility for my mother’s illnesses and absences," she says. And we're given a look at Quinn's anxieties and fears, particularly around her sexuality. "I have to admit that, like so many L.G.B.T. people, in the back of my mind I still have a faint sense of unease, wondering what people will think of me when I walk into unfamiliar situations, fearing they will judge me because of who I am," she writes.

Later, employing her famous sense of humor, Quinn writes of her "only in New York" attempt efforts to keep future wife and ardent Yankees fan Kim M. Catullo interested: "I dumped the Mets in a hot second."

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